The program that aims to empower youth, primarily those who are orphaned and vulnerable, the girl child and their caregivers to attain employment, sustain a high quality of life and become productive members of society. The three-year project, will allow for the valuable leadership program to attract attention, promote the potential for replication and draw further financial sustenance.
“You are the leader you’ve been looking for”. XXXX believes that while life may be challenging, roadblocks can be overcome to bring out the leader within.
XXXX is therefore requesting in year XXXX for the construction and development of the Graff Leadership Center and “Finding the Leader Within”- a groundbreaking program that aims to empower youth, primarily those who are orphaned and vulnerable, the girl child and their caregivers to attain employment, sustain a high quality of life and become productive members of society. The three-year project, amounting to $XXXXXX, will allow for the valuable leadership program to attract attention, promote the potential for replication and draw further financial sustenance.
The objectives of the program are to:
- Build and develop the Leadership and Computer Center to house the growth and development of the “Finding the Leader Within program.”
- Provide the opportunity for youth, ages 12-18+ to become self-sufficient leaders in their communities.
- Promote the ability of youth, especially orphans, vulnerable and girl children, to protect themselves from HIV, sexual abuse, alcohol and substance abuse, as well as other peer or family pressure.
- Advocate for youth leadership opportunities among leaders, businesses, and communities.
- Implement a sustainable leadership program that can be replicated nationwide.
The “Finding the Leader Within” leadership program is strategically aligned with XXXXXX International’s mission “to empower youth to become leaders by nurturing their mental, physical and spiritual wellbeing”. XXXXXX, a registered non-governmental, non-profit organization in Botswana XXXXXX and the United States, currently has a unique after school center serving 70 youth in Mochudi, Kgatleng District, 40 km from Botswana’s capital Gaborone. The Graff Center for Leadership and the “Finding the Leader Within” program would complement XX current program of psychosocial support, goal setting strategies, tutored study, income generating opportunities, life skills and career planning activities, to further assist and create more opportunities for participants and their caregivers to become self-sufficient contributors to society.
Adolescents have leadership qualities within themselves however, for many youths growing up in Botswana the current environment is not conducive for them to nurture their desires and skills. The challenges that adolescents face such as peer pressure, and negotiating relationships are compounded by the toll of HIV, inadequate guidance, economic and psychosocial support within families and the school system’s limited access to resources and opportunities. These concerns contribute to the need for a program that can assist adolescents and their caregivers to find the leader within themselves and use their skills to progress in life beyond what their circumstances would normally predict.
Rationale for the Program
Situation in Botswana
Botswana has one of the highest HIV and AIDS prevalence rates in the world, with one in every 3-4 people living with the virus. An astonishing 34.7% HIV prevalence rate for adults between the ages of 25-49 presented in the BIAS III (2008) means that the number of children orphaned as a result of HIV and AIDS continues to soar at an unprecedented rate. It is estimated that more than sixteen out of every 100 children in Botswana under the age of 18 are orphaned and most are vulnerable. As a result, many children, especially girls, have become caregivers, increasing the likelihood that they lose focus on education, obtain inadequate health care, and are not protected from sexual exploitation and abuse. These issues hinder young people’s ability to express their opinions and feelings, preventing them from coping with their experiences and progressing in life.
Challenges of Finding the Leader Within
The challenges that orphaned and vulnerable adolescents face such as peer pressure, and negotiating relationships are compounded by the following:
The caregivers, the majority being grandmothers, aunts, older sisters or cousins struggle to provide support to adolescents due to economic strain on the family and have minimal parenting skills, particularly those needed to raise an adolescent let alone an OVC. Within the family structure the adolescents are not free to express themselves and discipline presents itself in the form of beatings, chores and missed meals. Youth are deprived of the right to a loving and supportive family environment, which is crucial for development of positive self-identity and self-esteem.
In schools, students learn to memorize rather than comprehend the information and there is minimal room for questions of clarification or personal interpretation. This impedes the ability to problem solve and analyze information. Creative study skills, and varied learning styles are not incorporated in the curriculum and the school system does not have provisions for special needs students or those who require extra assistance. When Stepping Stones International first started, five of our youth participants in standard 7 (grade 7) and higher, were unable to read, write and spell their names. Government schools in Botswana have scarce resources and provide limited opportunities for youth to explore and develop. In today’s world computer skills are essential and yet most of our youth attempting to enter the job market or apply to higher education institutions do not have the skills to compete.
In addition to dealing with the daily struggles of adolescence such as peer pressure, puberty and navigating relationships, the impact of HIV and AIDS has compounded their challenges. In focus group discussions conducted at XX, youth stated that their parents/caregivers’ confidence in and love for them was lacking in families. With inadequate direction from parents to move towards independence, OVC adolescents often become trapped products of their environment. In order for them to move beyond their circumstances, they need to become empowered to be responsible, formulate decisions, respect their bodies, express their feelings and think for themselves.
It is therefore critical to provide a safe and supportive environment with access to qualified staff to enhance positive development of orphaned and vulnerable adolescents. The investment made in psychosocial support for these youth will allow them to confidently take advantage of and maximize leadership opportunities.
Achievements and Good Practices
Since the formation of the program, participants have shown vast personal growth and development manifested in their confidence during interactions with others. XXXXXX self-expression techniques and supportive environment has enabled XXXXX youth to open up, and allowed them to move forward to achieve goals. In less than three years, XXXXXX has managed to place five OVC into tertiary education, one into a fine arts university and two into top private schools in the country. Five participants have vastly improved in phonics, and word recognition as well as their general comprehension of the English language. Through self-expression activities such as drama, art and music therapy, 20% of the center’s participants have found the confidence to disclose incidence of incest and childhood sexual abuse, and many have shared for the first-time personal trauma stories. Due to our intervention with families we have seen improved communication with caregivers, social services assistance, and involvement in income generating activities, as well as, grannies having opportunities to develop networks of support. XXXXXX is currently working with 17 schools, with peer education programs in 11 schools across 3 districts.
Proposed Leadership Program
The difficult circumstances endured by orphaned and vulnerable adolescents, coupled with XXXXX innovative and life changing program, has necessitated the need to expand and offer more services to orphans and vulnerable youth. As a result, XX is requesting funding for the development of a computer and leadership center to house the “Finding the Leader Within” initiative, a leadership program that empowers adolescents, their caregivers, especially the girl child, grandmothers and aunts to become leaders in their communities through a variety of interventions and activities.
The leadership program has the potential to directly benefit more than 510 orphans, vulnerable children (60% girls), youth and their caregivers (primarily aunties and uncles) and community stakeholders with outreach to 6500 youth in schools, grandmothers, and community leaders.
The Leadership Center will build on the foundation of organization model and significantly increase the access and outreach of services by providing additional qualified human resource support, trainings, and services at the center. Specifically, the Leadership Center will host computer training, leadership training, job skills, tutoring, life skills and income generating activities.
An increase of staff will be required to manage the new components of Center’s “Finding the Leader Within” program. This includes an additional qualified social worker and counselor to guide the psychosocial needs of the proposed increase numbers of OVC and caregivers. A Leadership Program Officer will be hired to manage all leadership activities, including internship placements, mentor guidance, ensuring incorporation of the life skills program into leadership, monitoring the computer training consultant and monitoring and evaluating goals that youth set. An Income Generation Program Officer will be brought on board (50%) to develop and run the caregiver’s component of Income generating activities at the center. To ensure the smooth running of the project a monitoring and evaluation officer, accountant, and management team will be cost shared in this project. It is proposed that there be a special emphasis and an investment on ensuring quality of programming and implementing staff.
Interventions and Activities of the Program
XXXX conducted a needs assessment among OVC, non-OVC in schools and their caregivers to gain community input and inform the establishment of the organization. XXXXX is proposing to conduct a second assessment, comprised of qualitative and quantitative methods, to inform the leadership program. The assessment would include a quantitative survey as well as interviews and focus group discussions with teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, health care providers, police, traditional leaders, caregivers and the youth.
Based on XXXXX current knowledge and experience, the following are proposed interventions and activities of the leadership program that will achieve the objectives and result in the expected outcomes. Many activities cross cut several objectives. Based on the need’s assessment and essential input from the community, key stakeholders and beneficiaries, some of the activities may be modified.
Development of the Leadership Center
The Leadership and Computer center will house the core “Finding the Leader Within” program. The architectural plans for the building have been designed and the land is available on the current XXXX plot in Mochudi. XXXX is proposing to build this center in year one. The center would house a library, at least 8 computers and include break off study space for one-on-one and group tutoring as well as a meeting place for small seminars. The center will provide programs such as capacity building (training), life skills, leadership skills, entrepreneurship and income generating, and advocacy activities as detailed below.
The Computer Program
In the era of technology, the utilization and knowledge of computers is essential. XXXX was given funding from the Lady Khama Trust to purchase 6 computers to train youth in basic computer skills. XXXX would like to expand this service to more youth in the community. In order to do so it is essential to have a computer center wherein we introduce the most up to date technology that is applicable in the Botswana market. In addition, a Computer Training Consultant will be taken on to set up the program, design computer lesson sessions and provide technical expertise.
The Mentorship program, wherein Form 5s in their gap year, volunteer (with a stipend) to facilitate activities at the center and provide mentoring to peers, will be expanded from four mentors in year one to five in year two and six mentors enrolled year three. The Leadership Program Officer will train the mentors, three days a month on computers, writing CVs, making application for jobs positions and inquiring about vocational or tertiary education opportunities. The mentors will also participate in short one day trainings on topics such as role modeling, facilitation, HIV prevention, sexual abuse, teen pregnancy and other adolescent challenges. The mentors will conduct life skills activities with youth in the community.
Aunties and Uncles, Community Mobilizers
XXXX will work with partners such as the Social Welfare Division, faith-based organizations, NGOs and the village development committees in selecting 30 role model Aunties and Uncles in the community. The selected Aunties and Uncles will visit households to discuss issues related to sexual abuse, communicating with an adolescent, responsibilities of caregivers and other family dynamics. XX will hold a seven-day training on delivering messages, visiting homes and other activities that the Aunties and Uncles can employ in the community. The center will serve as a congregation point for discussion, feedback and information dissemination among this core group of Aunties and Uncles. In year two 30 more Aunties and Uncles will be trained from different wards and year three will consist of refresher training.
Life Skills and Psychological Support
- Life Skills Program
- The life skills program informs and motivates youth on building self-confidence and how to curb HIV transmission and other risky behaviors. The life skills program is highly participatory and the youth design some of the activities themselves. The project will help XXXX reach more OVC youth as well as enhance the actual program itself.
- The following activities and interventions will be implemented in year one:
- Activities for all ‘stone’ levels will focus on goal setting, sexual abuse including multiple concurrent partners, teen pregnancy and HIV prevention and substance abuse
- Communication techniques will include presentations, debates, poetry, art, drama.
- The youth have developed scripts for teen issues and were trained by a professional drama group. They will continue to perform at least once a month, two schools per month.
- In year two and three, XXXXX will implement Bridges of Hope, an intervention of powerful, practical and fun participatory activities that enable both literate and non-literate participants to address issues around HIV prevention, support, testing, treatment, stigma and positive living, linked to achieving their life goals and dreams
- Psychosocial support
- Youth must be able to understand themselves and cope with their own problems to become an effective leader. XXXX has been currently operating with only 1 staff counselor for 70 youth. With this proposal XXXX will increase the number of counseling staff by one as well as have an in-house social worker which will therefore increase psychosocial support by increasing number of sessions per participant as follow up on goals set and decision making. XXXX will strengthen communication and confidence in youth through increased use of art, drama and music techniques in group and individual counseling.
- Study skills
- Currently XXXX has a basic study skills and journaling program that introduces innovative ideas and methods of studying. XXXX proposes to utilize retired teachers to assist tutoring youth. New activities such as poetry writing, spelling bees, mathematics competitions, and special projects will be introduced to complement learning in the schools.
- Library and Book Club
- XXXX has a library of more than 500 books of which will be expanded in the Graff Center. XXXX will establish four empowerment book clubs for consisting of approximately 10 girls each. The clubs will be held bimonthly on Tuesdays at the center. Each group will read the books together, define difficult English words and discuss the content related to challenges in their own lives.
Leadership and Entrepreneurial Skills
- XXXXX will hold on leadership camp in year one and two leadership camps (April and August) in years two and three with youth in the district (60 participants per camp). One camp will be a science and technology camp in collaboration with BIUST University. A second camp will be held in collaboration with Botswana Defense Force (orienteering, survival skills, and discipline). The Leadership Officer will be responsible for developing camp opportunities and organizing logistics.
- Income Generating
- XXXXX currently implements income generating activities that are managed by our youth. There are four companies that XXXX youth have formed (events, arts, catering and movie companies). Building on this initiative, XXXX will expand the training to include more modules on marketing, budgeting, managing, Microsoft excel, and accounting. In addition, the youth will train and hire caregivers and cancer patients from the Cancer Institute to assist in their companies. Caregivers will now be incorporated into the program to start their own business ventures. The first initiatives, catering to grannies and aunties will include community garden for vegetable production, village bakery and a sewing project (waterproof canvas bags) using industrial sewing equipment and recycled billboard material.
- Job Skills
- The proposed job skills program entails inviting people from various professions to present to the youth their job descriptions; to include their likes and dislikes, and what is involved to enter into the profession. The presenter will also hold a mini workshop that relates to that particular job, e.g. an accountant may ask the youth to make a budget of expenditures per month. XXXXX will also have the youth take a test to assess their skills and likes and dislikes to better assist them with deciding what they want to do. Furthermore, XXXX will develop a network of companies who are interested in receiving interns during the holidays or during the Form 5 gap year.
Advocacy in the Community
- On a quarterly basis XXXXX will continue to be the secretariat in the quarterly stakeholder’s meetings. The 30 stakeholders (police, social workers, NGOs, Social Welfare, clinics and hospital representatives, caregivers, Chief and other leaders) have been active in discussing children’s rights and problems in the community. The next step XXXXX wants engage in is to motivate the group to take a stronger stance on issues and voice them through campaigns in and out of schools, at village meetings, in churches, clinics and other community gatherings.
- Grannies in Kgatleng district have gathered once in 2009 to discuss challenges around raising OVC and teenagers. The talk was a success and the Grannies expressed their desires to continue to have ‘granny tea parties” at least quarterly, where similar issues can be addressed. In addition to hosting granny tea parties, grannies will talk at schools about respect, tradition and morals; others will talk at the Kgotla (Chief’s village meetings) on these various topics. XXXXX will facilitate the meetings with the Grannies so they can make and plan to showcase effective leadership in the community.
- Aunties and Uncles
- As mentioned above, the Aunties and Uncles will be trained as part of a campaign to reduce sexual abuse, multiple concurrent partners and other HIV prevention in the district. The Aunties and Uncles will also be involved in advocating for children’s rights and referring caregivers to services where needed.
- Chief and Traditional Leaders
- XXXXX OVC and peer educators will meet with Traditional leaders at least twice during the year to discuss the issues that are important to address and be involved in planning community actions for the issues discussed.
ORGANIZING NGO Programmatic Experience
Within less than four years XXXXX has drastically grown from 10 youth in a classroom to 30 youth in a small donated government house to 70 daily participants at an established center. The following are some of the achievements of the XXXX program:
- Assisted in placing 10 participants in internships, jobs, top high schools and tertiary or vocational schools.
- Managed to expose youth to new ideas and opportunities, build self-confidence and improve academic achievements and milestones.
- Youth manage four functioning income generating companies.
- Initiated community stakeholder advisory groups and has partnered with more than 12 local NGO’s and government departments on major projects.
- Presented the Love and Logic approach of discipline and rewards at an international child counseling conference in Kenya.
- Garnered confidence and support from bilateral agreements, government, private sector, foundations and individuals.
- In partnership with the Botswana children’s clinic XXXXX established the first district satellite Teen Club for youth who are HIV positive. Enrolment has increased from 7 to 50 members in less than one year.
- All of this has been achieved through XXXXXXX ability mobilize both local and international staff and attract volunteers (See Annex I for management staff backgrounds).
Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) Plan
Reach and Impact
‘Reach’ is a target that the project wants to achieve while impact is a measure of how the project contributes to Botswana’s National Strategic Framework. The XX strategy departs from the normal “one-off” activity approach. XX may hold a large group session; however, it is followed by small group (maximum 25 people) discussions on the topics. Having smaller groups ensures that the participants are active and engage in internalizing the topic. XX also follows up with participants to encourage and track progress in behavior change.
Biannual reports and a final report will be written, documenting the leadership program’s accomplishments, challenges, lessons learned and future needs while serving as a learning tool to advocate for increased support of adolescents, focusing on the particular needs of females, and caregivers, specifically grandmothers both at the community level and the national level. XX will hold a dissemination workshop at the end of the project as well as post information on the website.